There are currently more than 18 suppliers offering electricity and gas in the United Kingdom. Although many of these suppliers offer services throughout the entire country, base rates may vary by region. You, as a consumer, are entitled to switch your electricity provider whenever you want for any reason. In today’s economy, saving money is the biggest reason of all. Many consumers intend to take advantage of increased competition between suppliers and compare electricity prices to get a lower price on their electricity.
Electricity Rates on the Rise
Ofgem is the name of the agency tasked with overseeing electricity and gas suppliers in the UK. The trend over the past several years has been to encourage competition between suppliers in order to give customers the best rates on their energy bills. This type of competition is occurring in many nations across the world, and it tends to foster the lowest rates available to consumers. But still electricity and gas rates continue to rise. And although Ofgem initiated an investigation into the rising cost of energy, they did not find a reason to believe that energy prices were going to level out any time soon.
Rising energy gas and electricity prices in the UK are likely due to the nation’s reliance on foreign supplies of oil. With UK energy sources largely depleted, UK providers are at the mercy of foreign oil suppliers. UK gas and electricity suppliers purchase their supplies at wholesale and base the rates they offer to consumers on a percentage profit over what they pay on the wholesale market.
Consumers Increasingly Switching Electricity Suppliers
Although it is becoming increasingly common for consumers to compare electricity prices and switch to the lowest-priced supplier, only about one-third of all UK electricity consumers have made a switch. And of those who have switched once, many do so again? Why? Because frequent switching between electricity suppliers is often the best way to get a great rate. Some customers have discovered that, once their contract term with one supplier has ended, they can switch to another supplier for a lower introductory rate. When the introductory rate with that supplier ends, switching to yet another supplier may result in another low rate.
Consumers have also demanded the ability to compare electricity prices as well as an easier switching process, and the industry is responding to both. There are many online resources available that make gathering information about available electricity suppliers much easier than it once was. Many suppliers also encourage consumers to make the switch online. And although the switching process continues to take far too long for some consumers, legislators are working toward a 24-hour switching period so that consumers enjoy the benefits of a lower price for electricity as soon as possible.
Reliable and Safe Electricity Services
As you compare electricity prices, you should also know that one supplier is as reliable and safe as the next. Electricity suppliers supply the power, but your local electricity company will continue to own and maintain all of the power lines and conduits. This means that you will be using the same equipment that you have always used to access your electricity services.
Switching electricity suppliers is also seamless. Regardless of the complaints that the process takes too long, you will not experience any interruption in billing or an interruption in the delivery of your electricity services. You may also select from electricity suppliers that tout their electricity services as coming from 100% “green” sources. Of course, “green” suppliers may charge a base rate that is higher than that of many other electricity suppliers.
The end result is that electricity choice, driven by the demand for lower rates and the consumer’s desire to compare electricity prices and shop for lower rates, has fostered competition between electricity suppliers where there once was none. The system and the process of switching is not yet without flaws, but UK legislators and energy regulation authorities look forward to the day when consumers and electricity suppliers alike are satisfied with the outcomes. As a consumer, it is important that, like any other product or service, you shop around for the best rate on your electricity.
Sam Jones the author is often asked how to find the cheapest electricity supplier. He recommends http://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/guides/compare-electricity-prices/ from uSwitch the price comparison website where all of the energy suppliers can be compared with the online price checker.
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